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 Norfolk Southern Locomotive ON FIRE !!!Added: January 25, 2008 

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Views: 62,188 Comments: 26 
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Link to Video:
Locomotive Details Location/Date of Video
Norfolk Southern (more..)
EMD GP60 (more..)
NS Harrisburg Line MP 77.5 (more..)
Richland, Pennsylvania, USA (more..)
January 23, 2008
Locomotive No./Train ID Videographer
NS 7125 (more..)
963 (more..)
Eric B. (more..)
Contact Eric B.
Remarks: The 6th unit NS 6199 catches fire when the brakes lock. The 4th axle is burning away the shoes which causes a lot of sparks and flames to fly. Ties caught on fire, however smoldered out within a few minutes. Burnt shoes could be smelled over a half-hour period after the pass-by of the train. Obviously, I called this in and the train stopped shortly after - all defect detectors reported 'no defects'.
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  User Comments on this Video (26)

Posted by Sam Davey on January 25, 2008

Looks like someone forgot to knock off a hand brake.

Posted by NS9957 on January 26, 2008

Oh my gosh! I hope they were aware of this...

Posted by Tyler on January 26, 2008

Who needs a loram? NS does there own grinding!

Posted by rrvideoman on January 26, 2008

NS claims to be the hottest railroad in America, but I can't understand why they were actually setting out to prove in. Thank God that no one was hurt and no major damage was done. It also shows the value of rail fans, and their knowledge of knowing what to do. Excellent job Eric B.

Posted by Bicot (Marc Caya) on January 26, 2008

Great catch Eric!

Posted by Chris on January 26, 2008

This just shows you how hot a wheel/bearing has to be to set off a detector. They are so concerned about safety (so they say) but yet the whole engine has to be engulfed in flames to set one off.

Posted by Eric B. on January 26, 2008

Thanks for all the comments! It just goes to show, check those hand brakes, and detectors aren't infallible. This train went unnoticed (no oncoming trains) from Allentown, which is over 50 miles away. Apparently, the crew had not noticed what was going on about 400 feet behind them. I imagine this was VERY HOT, they were stopped for about 45 minutes before resuming the journey. If you listen carefully, you can hear a flat spot developing on that wheel.

Posted by BubbaBouy on January 27, 2008

Good to be at the right place at the right time. Thanks for the picture with the brakes on. Stinks for hours

Posted by Ryan G. on January 27, 2008

I do believe this is a locked traction motor. The hand brake is on the front truck. When applied it only sets up the brakes on the front truck.

Posted by M.J. Ryan on January 28, 2008

Ryan G. is correct. It was a locked up traction motor that started it. Unit was routed to Juniata when it finally got to Harrisburg. JBS found the traction motor was DOA, and that somewhere in the process of being dragged, that the roller bearing had siezed. Not fun. This is exactly why when you hit a curve you look back to visually inspect your train (and/or power). Good catch Eric.

Posted by M.T. Potter on January 28, 2008

Only the front or rear axle of a locomotive sets up with a handbrake on it, depending on which end the brake is on. With a tight brake, the wheels skip the fire part and go right to the shelling and melting part....

Posted by Eric Augatis on January 28, 2008

It had something to do with the contact wires for the direction of movement welding together, from what I understand. When they came together, the wheel began to drag & grind across the rail, rather than roll freely. The engine was likely boxcared or shut down otherwise. Nothing at all to do with a stuck or applied handbrake...for the know-it-alls. The incident is pending investigation.

Posted by Eric B. on January 28, 2008

Yes, after further review, I do believe Ryan is 100% correct. This is at fault of the traction motor seizing. A locked hand-brake would have a similar effect. There is no telling when the traction motor failed, although I know it crossed 1 DED while flaming.

Posted by Eric Augatis on January 28, 2008

The movement crossed four (4) HBD / DED's on the way from Allentown to it's current location (Emmaus, Topton, Blandon, Sinking Spring) and none of them went off. Even Myerstown @ MP 79.8 did not go off, less than 3 miles west of this location.

Posted by Doug Wolfe on February 2, 2008

Wow, that is a wild piece of video. Great work on your part to stay with it. I wonder how long it was before the NS crew realized what was happening.

Posted by Derek Buel on February 7, 2008

Man, I wonder how mad the mechanics were when they saw the brakes all tore up when the diesel entered the shops.

Posted by DMV717 on February 11, 2008

Super great catch Eric a thrill to watch.

Posted by Ian on March 2, 2008

Nice catch Eric.

Posted by Rod Williams on March 18, 2008

A seized motor should provide a wheelslip indication up front.

Posted by really on May 11, 2008

well, it's kinda awesome this pick is wicked

Posted by Andrew Robb on June 16, 2008

Great job catching that and reporting that, a incident like that could have easily become a disaster to the public and the Railroad!

Posted by ACLTony on June 25, 2008

That was incredible! Outstanding that you called this in and help avert a possible disaster. It's likely that a number of people that saw these units pass by likely did nothing. Did any railroad officials or media reps talk to afterwards and did this appear in the local paper? Also, do you know if the rails themselves were damaged?

Posted by Thanks! on November 19, 2008

Wow! Thanks for reporting it! I myself work as an engineer for the BNSF and it makes things feel a little safer knowing that the public train enthusiast pay attention to these things and report them. Thanks!!!

Posted by Craig Williams on December 19, 2008

You would think one would notice that this lite power was pulling funny all of sudden. I doubt this went on very long. I have seen somethings in my 11 year career, it amazing how many accidents are advoided by observations or equipment detectors.

Posted by DMM on July 20, 2010

Our experience is that fire inboard of the wheel plate will cause an elevated HBD reading, but not sufficient to alarm. If the HBD's are networked, they can trend temperature readings and stop the train before failure, but in most cases, the HBD's are stand-alone units. Does anyone know if this was a "plain" or "roller"-type suspension bearing?

Posted by maxwell on May 19, 2013

Funny comment Tyler!

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